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>> silvio berlusconi says he is the victim of a witch hunt as the italian court upholds the former's prison sentence for tax fraud. u.s. whistleblower edward snowden slams washington has he finally leaves the moscow airport where he was hold up four weeks. the syrian president, bashar al- assad, makes a rare public appearance, proclaiming victory. welcome. italy's five highest -- italy's highest court has upheld silvio berlusconi's conviction for tax fraud. the former prime minister is unlikely to spend any time behind bars.
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kathleen clifford has more. >> his voice shaking, berlusconi described himself in a video statement as a victim of an incredible series of accusations and trials that had nothing to do with reality. on thursday, the country's top court upheld the former prime minister's conviction in a tax fraud case that first went to trial in 2006. after a three-day hearing, the ruling confirmed the verdict from a lower court. the sentencing is automatically reduced to one year under amnesty. a five-year ban on public office am a handed down as part of the original sentence, was upheld. thursday's outcome could throw italy's already fragile coalition into turmoil and potentially affect the eurozone. the former prime minister is no stranger to scandal. some 30 court cases have been brought against him, ranging
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from corruption to intercourse with an underage prostitute. berlusconi has surprised many times in the past by bouncing back. >> edward snowden is out of the airport that has been his home since june. he has accused his country of flouting international law and thanked russia for granting him asylum. snowden's lawyers say his whereabouts have been kept secret for the moment for his own safety. he managed to escape boards of journalist at the airport. >> the owner of a brand-new russian passport, edward snowden , the fugitive, is freed for now. after being stuck in the transit area of a moscow airport for more than a month, russia granted the whistleblower one year asylum. the u.s. said the move undermined the long-standing law enforcement cooperation. >> we are extremely disappointed that the russian government would take this step despite our
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very clear and lawful request in public and in private to have mr. snowden expelled to the united states to face the charges against him. >> those charges, espionage, for releasing details of secret government for grams. on the streets of new york -- programs. on the streets of new york, opinions were divided. >> they think it shows russia's true colors. >> let the facts fall where they may. >> i think they gave him asylum because he can give them the secrets america has. >> if he is telling the truth, he needs a safe place to be. >> for now, that safe place appears to be russia. >> bashar al-assad has declared triumph over the rebels. he is making a rare public appearance to mark armey jay just outside damascus. meanwhile, at deadly -- army day
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just outside damascus. meanwhile, more than 40 people were killed in a blast outside a munitions depot. for more on today's events, here is our correspondent, lucy fielder, in beirut. >> it is probably par for the course, but the president had to sound confident in his speech. he rarely gives speeches. he wanted to give off a perceived victory on the ground and to send a message to his troops. he said he was confident in victory, just a day after the syrian army took an area in homs that was a major step for the regime. this was a rebel held area. they had been holding it for more than a year. it is in some ways a symbol of resistance to the regime. that came just a month after
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victory in another area, a string of victories that many believe on the ground were in a stalemate. this attack today in homs, 40 people at least killed, may show that the fighting there is expected to continue. >> lucy fielder in beirut. in the united states, kidnapper ariel castro has been sentenced to life without parole for objecting and sexually abusing three women. one of his victims, 32-year-old michele knight, said he faces hell for eternity. the former school bus driver seated guilty to 937 criminal charges as part of the deal to spare him the death penalty. he was arrested in may after one of the women escaped from his home. the spanh minier has
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admitted he made a mistake, but has refused to resign. opposition parties say he has failed to give a convincing response to allegations his party received illegal donations and use them to make unlawful payments to senior members. >> a scandal that has undermined the authority of the spanish government. the prime minister arrived a parliament early on thursday. he had been summoned to testify about his alleged involvement in shady donations received by the disgraced former treasurer. members wanted clarification as to why he had maintained close ties to the man accused of corruption, currently in jail awaiting trial. >> the facts that i want to tell this chamber can be summarized by these words, i made a mistake. i regret it, but it was so. i made a mistake in putting my confidence in someone that we
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know now did not deserve it. >> the legend/fund was first uncovered in 2009, -- the allegedly slush fund was uncovered in 2009, but the spanish leader was not arrested until january. after denying any involvement, the prime minister finally agreed to testify after the opposition party threatened a vote of no-confidence. quick spaniards, society at large, and the world outside of spain need the prime minister to tell the truth. >> his party has a strong majority in parliament, which means the president is expect it to hold onto power. holes show that spaniards believe corruption is the biggest -- polls show that spaniards believe corruption is the biggest problem in their country after the economy.
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>> i asked for more information about the scandal and the character at the center of it. >> there is a far-reaching probe underway, at the center of which is the disgraced former treasurer who handled party financing for the better part of 20 years. he knows all of the secrets of financing of the popular party. potentially, we may not have heard the most damaging revelations as of yet. he is currently in prison on remand pending a judicial investigation, and he continues to testify and basically drip feed these allegations out. the prime minister is not only being named as somebody who accepted cash, most recently in
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2010 when he was the leader of the opposition, but potentially, there could be charges brought for embezzlement, tax fraud and a legal financing of his campaign. it is potentially very damaging indeed. >> what about his performance in parliament today? >> it was a very well orchestrated performance, hardly the grilling that anyone expected, but rather a long speech by the prime minister. he spent much of his hour-long speech describing the former treasurer and reminding parliament that these were the unfounded allegations of a crook. he claimed he had been hoodwinked and made a mistake in trusting someone. that was as far as he went as far as apologizing. he denied any wrongdoing for himself or the party and he categorically refused to consider resigning over the
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issue. whether this performance will be enough, time will tell. >> let's finish off with some impressive images from eastern france. over 400 hot-air balloons take to the sky in the 14th edition of this national festival. >> blue skies, no wind, and a hefty amount of hot air, perfect conditions on wednesday for 4 408 balloons, that took off filling the sky with color. >> this is the most impressive, friendly and well-organized event. >> participants from over 45 countries came to this former nato air force base in eastern france to show off their passion for balloons and ballooning. >> normally there are one or two balloons, but here, there are a lot of balloons. it is nice when you can see all the shapes, all the different types of balloons. it is so impressive.
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>> if you wish to take part, you have until sunday to admire the floating parade. >> that is it for now. your next news bulletin is in about 20 minutes time. >> our arrival has not gone unnoticed, but after months of negotiation, we are finally here , a workshop or gang members are sorting kilos of cocaine. their boss has them working to a strict rhythm, and there is no way they can stop. that is life for you. all are fiercely loyal to the
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organization. such is the law of the gangs. before becoming drug traffickers, these youngsters are getting hands-on experience of packaging. >> in the beginning, it is like this. we get the right weight. we put it there. we fill the capsules. see how this looks. they are still open. this is the final product. beginning, middle, and end. each of these is worth two euros. >> a few meters away, guns ready, the bosses stand guard, keeping a close eye on the drugs and the cash. they stand to make a 400% profit at the point-of-sale. a simple hand gesture shows allegiance to their gang. the commando.
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what are you selling here? >> o'kane, grass, crack -- cocaine, grass, crack, we have it all. it is our living. it is because of this we are able to eat every day. it is great. for us, it is a good job. i sell, but i am not a user. cooks cannot touch it. i only smoked joints. that is my thing. >> outside, the atmosphere is electric. an open air drug market is in full swing. the trading never lets up, with a steady stream of clients eye appointment only. this -- by appointment only. this suburb of rio de janeiro is beyond the control of the brazilian authorities.
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the strategy was to use special forces to recapture territory and then move in police units to pacify the areas under their control. mangera is one such slum. it was once controlled by armed gangs. today, it is the police who have be the guns. these officers have been here for more than a year. the goal of captain l and her team is to win the hearts and minds of residents. >> we should put in a cable car here also. god be with you. >> a smile is her secret weapon. >> we have to talk to people. >> so far, 8000 officers have been trained and deployed as part of rio depb
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force. >> they are starting to see us as heroes, rather than the drug traffickers. they are starting to get close to us, to see us as role models. >> what is your name? >> tatiana. >> and him? >> this is the professor. >> do you go to school? >> give me a kiss. >> the received wisdom is changing. the fear of the police, of armed on flick, of the forces -- armed conflict, of the force is fading. police, like residence, are also citizens. >> but he's in the city slums comes at a price. this new -- peace in the city slums comes at a price. this new pice force has cost a
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staggering 400 million euro. with only a year until the world cup, taking control of mangera is a top priority. >> today, you can walk here freely. it was impossible for us to bring a car this far or have any presence like we do now. this is a strategic base, especially with the events which are coming. look at the wonderful view over the stadium. >> in the five years since the pacification program began, the state has taken control of just 30 of these cities 1000 slums, almost 10 square kilometers. authorities plan to install more units by 2014. now that residents can express themselves freely, what do they make of the changes? >> before the gangs respected
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the life, they respected the workers, and if you did not respect the rules, you had to watch out. if you think it is over, my friend, it is not. of course, it has been reduced. you don't see weapons. you don't see anything. >> but it is a fragile peace. the concern among residents that the program will be abandoned after the 2014 world cup and the 2016 olympic games. for now though, pacification has forced gangs to abandon their strongholds for the outer suburbs where their business has flourished. under a tree, their weapons and beers in hand, are the leaders of the gang. >> i came here six months ago.
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>> is it good to live here? >> it is fine. >> it is further away. >> that's right. here, no one is obliged to buy drugs. it is the same everywhere. >> after a long discussion, we are given the green light to visit the neighborhood.@gang member guides us through an area where state authority -- >> a gang member guides us through an area where on every corner drugs are for sale. >> the street is being resurfaced to improve things. >> does it improve things? >> yes, they are going to resurface the road and then it will be fine. but this is how it is now.
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a bit further on, you will get some nice pictures. >> what is their? >> more dealing. >> they are everywhere. >> yes. >> weapons are everywhere, and occasionally, a special offer. >> if you buy one, you get one free. take two now. >> the customers seem unconcerned by our presence. >> this is a small part of the profit. >> here, there is everything they could want. >> weed, crack, crack, crack, co., poppers -- coke, poppers. it brings in the money. >> really? >> the drug trade is going normally. the police are on one side and we are on the other. that is how it works.
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>> at another sales point, the market is bustling. this is one of the busiest areas, which many residents pass on their way home from work. but what are you doing here? >> this business is crazy. but i have to earn a living. i have children to raise. that is why i am living this life. >> each dealer can earn as much as 800 euros a month, three times the minimum wage. all guns and bikes belong to the gang. anything lost must be paid for. this one gives nicknames to his weapons. >> this is a powerful one. i call it the big nostril. it is a nine millimeter. it fires directly. this is charity, another nine millimeter. it has a beautiful sound, a beautiful sound.
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>> so, how will the government respond? we put that question to rio de janeiro's security chief. he said it is just a question of time. >> it is true that some gang members have moved to other areas. >> so what do you say to the people who live there? >> that we will get there. on the other hand, i cannot say we will be creating a pacification unit every week or every month. that would be lying to the people. we are not able to take back territory ruled for more than 40 years by corrupt people by political interests. by a system of bribery. i cannot change all that in a few months. the world will not change tomorrow, but i can change one place today, and show people that we are moving forward. >> in the meantime, residents
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try to cope with the chaos. >> where is the little girl for the cheese? >> but the code of silence remains. no one dares talk about the drug trade. drug traders are footing the bill for two nights celebration of a recent shipment, just as they did in their former footholds. inside, a dazzling pyrotechnic show, once again, courtesy of the local drug dealers. it is the kind of party synonymous with rio's slums. but tonight, the revelry stops for a silent minute, homage to a gang member killed during the week. life goes on, while some party -- life goes on. while some party, others, like
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this priest, spread the gospel. >> in the name of jesus, leave, get out, and then, may god protect you. we pray because they are going to cross a dangerous place. >> why is it dangerous? >> why is a dangerous? because you have a different type of person over there. different people, different gangs, you understand? going over there is risky you to try to kill you. chases so we are praying to overcome this evil and forgot to help us. -- for god to help us. >> it is going to be a long night for the dealers as well. at the end of the week, when parties are in full swing, trade is always brisk, three times
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more than usual, a sign of the hard times facing the government. pacification may raise more questions than it answers. >> the baltic seacoast is hundreds of kilometers away, but that is not stopping these war saw a residence from day enjoying the beach. >> it is close to my home. the place is nice, in the city center. it does not make sense to go to the seaside when i can sunbathe here. >> any time of day, the weather
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is good. >> it is the ideal place for anyone who is not on holiday. we come here about one weekend a month. >> warsaw's beaches occur naturally, but fine white sand from the baltic coast has been brought here for the comfort of sunbathers. though cleaner now, the river was heavily polluted by industry during the communist era, which ended 20 years ago. >> he for world war ii, you would have had 40,000 people on the beach. today, the beaches are smaller and cleaner. hopefully, in a few years we will be back to the numbers before the war. >> natural river banks offer an ideal setting for many sports. >> this is the best place for cycling. everything is green. along the way, you can stop for a drink in a bar orye beach
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volleyll. is clean. >> in warsaw, life on the beach does not end when the sun goes down. restaurants and bars lining the river bank have discos, and these youngsters look like they will be dancing until dawn.
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hello there. welcome to "newsline." it's friday, august 2nd. i'm catherine kobayashi in tokyo. u.s. fugitive edward snowden has walked out of an airport in moscow after more than five weeks inside. russian immigration officials have fwrabted him a one-year asylum. the decision h angered u.s. leaders and left relations up in the air. snowden arrived from hong kong in late june.
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